Automated Emergency Braking system has been hailed as the "next big thing" in vehicle safety since the introduction of the seat belt. The system makes a car automatically brake when the driver fails to respond to impending danger.
Australia's vehicle crash testing authority said that the new technology could save 250 lives each year and reduce the financial cost of our national road toll by 5 billion dollars annually.
Advertisement"AEB can probably be considered the next seat belt or electronic stability control equivalent in terms of saving lives," the Telegraph quote Australian New Car Assessment Program chief executive Nicholas Clarke as saying.
"Advanced safety assist technology can help remove the weakest link when it comes to car crashes; the driver.
"If every car on the road was equipped with AEB, the toll would fall by around 25 per cent," he said.
Clarke's statement is backed by research from ANCAP's sister organisation, Euro NCAP, which plans to make the auto-braking technology a mandatory feature to earn a five-star safety rating.
Some carmakers already offer Australian models with automated braking systems. The cheapest is the Volvo V50 wagon, which is priced from 42,990 dollars.
Ford's 33,840-dollar Focus Titanium and the 38,950-dollar Mercedes-Benz B-Class can both be optioned with the technology, costing 2300 dollars and 2500 dollars respectively.
AEB systems use video cameras, radars or lasers to scan the road and determine the distance to the vehicle ahead and its relative speed.
When the AEB-equipped vehicle gets too close, the software sounds a warning and then actively engages the brakes if the driver fails to respond.
ANCAP's "road map" of technologies required in future cars lists AEB as an optional system for five-star certification by 2017.
Clarke expects to have that date revised down - and predicts it will be mandatory, rather than optional.
"We're already talking to carmakers and lobbying the Federal Government to introduce these systems as soon as possible," he said.
The Australian Automotive Association considers AEB to be "revolutionary technology."
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